CAIRO: Teachers have vowed to continue their campaign against assessment exams until the Ministry of Education responds to their demand for an across-the-board minimum wage.
“Our demands remain the same: cancellation of the assessment exams and across the board wage increases, neither of which have been responded to,
Hassan El-Esawy from the Teachers Without a Syndicate movement told Daily News Egypt.
In August, the Ministry of Education introduced assessment examinations for primary, elementary and secondary school teachers, together with instructors in technical colleges.
Pay rises are contingent on the results of these examinations, which were met with widespread opposition from teachers who labeled them “humiliating.
Many teachers boycotted the exams, the results of which are due on Oct. 26, and protests were held both in opposition to them and to the perceived failure of the state-controlled Teachers’ Syndicate to adequately represent them.
Teachers Without a Syndicate issued a press statement on Saturday – coinciding with the start of the new academic year – in which they reiterated their demands and warned the Ministry of Education that they would continue their campaign.
“There is a feeling of devastation amongst teachers who are worried about the results of examinations and what will happen afterwards, El-Esawy said.
“This was compounded by the fact that the start of the new academic year was disorganized – books hadn’t arrived and there was a weak turnout from students he continued.
Some pupils and teachers had objected to the new academic year beginning this weekend, calling for it to be delayed until after Ramadan which ends at the beginning of October.
El-Esawy says that Teachers Without a Syndicate are cautious about strike action.
“We plan to hold protests after the Eid break, as well as a conference. We have also raised legal cases challenging the constitutionality of the decision to link pay increases with assessment exams, he told Daily News Egypt.
“We consider strike action a last option – we still have time, so let’s wait and see what happens.
A sit-in planned to take place in the Teachers’ Syndicate building in Dessouq, Kafr El-Sheikh on Saturday was called off after intimidation from security bodies.
“Twenty-four hours before the sit-in was meant to begin the syndicate withdrew support for it, Naim Ramadan, a teacher from Dessouq, told Daily News Egypt.
“The decision was taken unilaterally, after the syndicate was subject to pressure to cancel the sit-in by security bodies. We were informed of the decision without any warning, the syndicate head switched off his mobile and that was that, Ramadan continued.